Colorado Dems in the spotlight

Clockwise from left, Mayor John Hickenlooper, Gov. Bill Ritter, Sen. Ken Salazar and former Energy and Transportation Secretary Federico Peña.

Clockwise from left, Mayor John Hickenlooper, Gov. Bill Ritter, Sen. Ken Salazar and former Energy and Transportation Secretary Federico Peña.

Just as Denver has gained the spotlight in recent months with the Democratic National Convention coming to town and Colorado has a new status as a toss-up, the state’s elected officials are being thrust into a the national view.

Many Colorado Democrats have been tapped to speak at the party’s political bash next week, including Gov. Bill Ritter who will speak on the last night of the convention before Sen. Barack Obama accepts the party nomination at INVESCO Field.

Although nothing has been announced, in keeping with the “green” convention and theme Democrats have touted in recent months, Ritter’s success pushing a bipartisan “new energy economy” statewide might come up.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, a popular Democrat statewide, is speaking on the convention’s first night with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelsoi and former Denver Mayor Federico Pena, who served as both the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Transportation, will speak on the second night among Democratic heavyweights such as Hillary Clinton.

First-term Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, whose name appeared in media speculation early on as a potential vice president pick, is speaking on the convention’s third night as well Obama’s yet-to-be announced vice presidential pick.

But what about the state’s Democrats who are not taking a hands-on and public role at the convention?

Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s staff said the first-termer from Golden will be busy showing off his 7th Congressional District to other lawmakers. The National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden and the Medical School in the University of Colorado are two big attractions.

“We will be doing tours with other members of Congress to talk about what we have going on here in Colorado,” said Leslie Oliver, communications and policy director for Perlmutter. “These facilities are not just important to the district, they also have a big impact on the state and our country. NREL is conducting a lot of research on the renewable energy level that have huge impacts on the rest of the nation.”

The CU medical school is also of interest to congressional lawmakers, being that it was built on the grounds of the former Fitzsimmons Army Hospital and serves as a good example of how Army facilities closures can bring important redevelopment opportunities.

U.S. Rep. John Salazar, Sen. Ken Salazar’s brother, will be in Denver for the entire week, spokesman Eric Wortman said.

“I know he has a full schedule of events during the convention,” Wortman said, adding the second-term congressman from the 3rd CD will stop at many events. “I know he is planning to attend some events with the Blue Dog Coalition as well as events with the Hispanic Caucus. Of course, he will be on hand on Thursday for Sen. Obama’s [acceptance] speech.”

Not every Democrat is going to be hobnobbing in Denver for the entire convention week including Fort Collins Democrat Betsy Markey who is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave in the 4th CD.

Markey, who might be on hand for the acceptance speech, is going to focus more on running her campaign than being in Denver, campaign manager Anne Caprara said.

“She is going to be up for a few events but she will be spending most of her time in the district campaigning,” Caprara said. “The reality is that we are two months out from the election and while there is going to be a lot of people coming form out of state and there are events she will want to be at, her job is to be campaigning and maximizing the time spent in front of voters right now.”

Complete list of scheduled DNC speakers:

Monday, August 25:?
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi?
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper?
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri?
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois?
Tribute to Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts?
Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama’s older brother to introduce…?Michelle Obama??

Tuesday, August 26:?
Convention Co-Chair Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius?
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano?
Govs. Ted Strickland of Ohio?
Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania?
Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania?
Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts?
Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana?
Federico Peña, former Mayor of Denver and Secretary of both Energy and Transportation?
Rep. Xavier Becerra of California?
State House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer?
State House Democratic Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel?
DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen?
Rep. Nydia Velazquez of New York?
Rep. Linda Sanchez of California?
Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin?
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton of DC?
Rep. Mike Honda of California?
Pay Equity Pioneer Lilly Ledbetter?
Keynote Speaker: Former Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia? and Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York??

Wednesday, August 27:?
Former President Bill Clinton of New York?
Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico?
Sen. Joe Biden of Deleware?
Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia?
Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana?
Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada?
Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado?
Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina?
Congressman Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania?
Congressman Robert Wexler of Florida?
Iraq War Veteran Tammy Duckworth of Illinois?
VP acceptance speech??

Thursday, August 28:?
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Jr.
Former Vice President Al Gore?
Barack Obama acceptance speech

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Jason Kosena

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